My company’s main product is called MarginMaker, a comprehesive betting platform for telebetting, shops and internet betting.
Our most recent client first bought telebetting, and when that was completed successfully, they contracted us to expand to Internet betting as well.
First incarnation of the web site was build with features at the fore-front. We were to create web site that will allow the customers to place bets in the fewest steps possible, as well as give them ability to quickly sift-through betting offers. Since all competitors already had web sites, we were in position to analyze them, see what is good and what is bad and build something better.
So we did.
Web site had all the bells and whistles, with floating betslip that would follow you to every page you go (unique feature no one else had), live price update without page refresh etc. Site is very dynamic (using ASP pages) and display could totally change in a matter of minutes.
And all of that worked in modern browsers, as well as IE 4 and partly in NN4.
Client’s decision to support 4.0 browsers gave us a lot of trouble. We coded several versions of the same script, layout was built using bloated markup; from time to time, client asked for some new feature or change to be incorporated which, in the context of time-frames, often lead to more bloated markup.
This then introduced the delay to content - even with all files cached, browser still sent almost 30 HTTP requests to check has the files changed.
On above-56k connections, all this was not a problem and customers liked the features and number of registered users quickly grow. But for majority of UK modem users, site was slow. The fact that most of them used free services like FreeServe made things worse (those ISPs are often overloaded which leads to unacceptably long wait for HTTP responses).
So, we looked for solution. IIS log analysis revealed that 99.1% of users used IE5+, with IE 6 being 72.4%. Using this and lots of talking, client agreed to redesign using modern web technologies and abandoning full support for old browsers.
Here follows a tale of converting multiple nested-table layout to valid HTML 4.01 + CSS layout.
In the end, we got 5x smaller files and 10x faster web site.
Although I work for Finsoft and here describe one of its projects, this blog and thus the following write-up has nothing to do with Finsoft Ltd. All expressed views are entirely mine.